Mom missing after toddler found dead; father not a suspect

CANNON BEACH, Ore. – A makeshift memorial outside of a Cannon Beach hotel was growing Saturday after a housekeeper found a 2-year-old girl dead and teenager seriously injured there Friday.

It was the first homicide in Cannon Beach in at least 50 years, police said.

Officials were searching for the victims' mother and her SUV in relation to the incident. Police said the father was working with authorities and was not a suspect.

Colorful balloons in the shapes of hearts, stars and Sesame Street characters were tethered outside the Surfsand Resort at 148 West Gower Ave, where the victims were discovered by a housekeeper in a third-floor hotel room at 9:40 a.m. Friday.

The toddler was found dead and the 13-year-old girl critically cutwe're not naming her per RJ, SR, according to Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn. No cuts were found on the toddler.

The teen was flown by medical helicopter to Doernbecher Children's Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University. She was out of surgery Friday night and although seriously injured, she was stabilized, according to Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis.

Police were actively searching for Jessica Smith, 40, of Goldendale, Wash. (above) and a 2007 gold Chevy Suburban (pictured below) with WA license plate APX3141.

Smith checked into the hotel Wednesday with the two children. Schermerhorn said Smith was a person of interest and, at this point, officials want to make sure she's OK.

Schermerhorn said Washington State officials have made contact with Smith's husband.

On Saturday, he said Smith's husband, Gregory Smith, was not a suspect and was cooperating with authorities.

In the small community of Goldendale, Washington, with a population of approximately 3,500, neighbors and acquaintances were shocked by the tragedy.

"It's beyond any of our understanding as to why something like that might happen," said Goldendale resident Carol Martin.

The family used to live in a mobile home several miles outside of town, but neighbors told KGW the family has since moved.

They also said Smith and her husband had separated.

Clark County records also show that Jessica Smith requested a restraining order against Gregory Smith on July 17 and that request was denied.

Besides those few details, neighbors said they knew very little about the family and rarely had any interaction with them.

Police asked anyone who has information about Smith or the location the SUV to call Cannon Beach police immediately at 503-436-2811.

The Clatsop County Major Crime Team, along with federal agencies, was handling the investigation.



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